My husband absolutely loves burgers. I am certain it will take more than a week of 2 burger meals a day to get him only slightly tired of them.
But the other day he suddenly craved salad! I think when he voiced his wish, the earth went out of balance a little bit. It seemed like the universe had conspired to prevent him from getting his wish.
You should know, he didn’t want any salad, but the Caesar salad from a newly opened cafe down our street.
Well, he probably just chose the wrong day and location to be picky about where and what to eat for supper. Celebrations for the Loi Krathong holiday had been going on the entire week already. And this particular night there was a huge parade going on right on our street.
The entire road was blocked off for the parade. Groups upon groups of young Thais dressed in traditional outfits pushed fancy lit wagons or carried decorated poles through the streets. At the same time it seemed like every tourist in Chiang Mai and just as many locals gathered on the sidelines to watch the procession. And we would have done the same, if not for our salad mission.
And we had to fight all these masses to get to our salad place. Once there, we actually had a good view of the parade and weren’t too bored during the wait. But eventually the procession moved on. Still no food. A travel magazine was my next source of entertainment. I finished the entire magazine and it seemed like we had waited for at least an hour.
A look at the time confirmed it was indeed an hour and 20 minutes since we ordered. Guests that came way later than us were already finishing their meals. We were fed up and REALLY starving. We just paid for our drinks and tried our luck at a vegetarian place.
They weren’t far, just the other end of the street. But you guessed it, we had to fight our way through all the people AGAIN. Oh boy, you better don’t get in my way when I am starving. However, to our surprise, the vegetarian restaurant did not have any Western style salads at all.
Entirely frustrated we just gave up all healthy ambition and went to … MacDonalds! It’s right by our current place. Had we smartened up earlier, there would have been no need for any crowd fighting at all. But don’t you think we had salads there. No, MacDonalds in Thailand only has good ol’ burgers… and fried chicken…and some ridiculously spicy rice dish.
We went all out and had a feast of Filet-o-Fish, Chicken Nuggets, Cheesebuger and McChicken. Come on, don’t judge us. These were special circumstances and usually we love Thai food from the street markets.
Let me suggest something totally different to you though, not salad and not McDonalds. How about the ever popular red velvet cake in form of small and handy whoopie pies with yummy cream cheese filling.
I think Christmas (and Valentine’s Day) are the perfect holidays for red velvet cake. But to be honest, I need no holiday to enjoy RVC. We had these whoopie pies at a local Starbucks in Chiang Mai after we got lured in by the bite-sizes the baristas hand out ever so often. The following recipe is by the uber-talented Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons red food coloring
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- With a mixer using the paddle attachment combine butter, shortening and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mix well after each addition. Add vanilla and red food coloring and mix until just blended.
- Add half of flour mix and half of buttermilk to batter and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining flour mix and buttermilk and mix until completely combined.
- Using a spoon or cookie scoop drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto lined cookie sheets - at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 minutes each, or until whoopies spring back when lightly pressed. Remove cookie sheet from the oven and let whoopies cool on sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Using a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and butter on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Add vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high; beat until creamy and smooth for about 4 minutes.
- Spread the filling onto the flat side of one whoopie using a knife of spoon. You may also use a pastry bag with a round tip (eg. #12 Wilton) to pipe the filling onto the cakes. Top it with another whoopie, flat-side down. Repeat with rest of cakes and filling.